Madras HC ACJ T. Raja becomes first native judge in last 25 years to serve beyond 100 days in office

Only three judges from Tamil Nadu had got the opportunity to be the ACJ of the High Court since August 1997 and two of them got to serve only for shorter periods

January 07, 2023 11:52 pm | Updated 11:52 pm IST - CHENNAI

Madras High Court’s Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) T. Raja has become the first judge from Tamil Nadu, in the last 25 years, to complete over 100 days in office. He assumed charge as ACJ on September 22, 2022 and is due to retire from service on May 24, 2023.

According to High Court officials, so far there had been seven Officiating Chief Justices (OCJs) and 28 Acting Chief Justices in the High Court. The senior most judge of the High Court gets to hold these posts in the absence of a regular Chief Justice either due to delay in appointment or until the appointee takes charge.

Justice S. Mohan (who retired from the Supreme Court in 1995) was the last judge from Tamil Nadu to be appointed as the Chief Justice of Madras High Court. He held the post for just six days between October 19 and 24 in 1989. Since then, only senior judges from other States had been appointed as the Chief Justice of the High Court.

Similarly, Justice K.A. Thanikkachalam served as the ACJ of the High Court for a considerable period of time between March 20, 1997 and July 6, 1997. After him, 14 judges served as ACJs for different tenures but 11 of them were from other States because the senior most judge of the High Court also ended up being a non native.

The only three native judges who got an opportunity to serve as the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court in the last 25 years include Justice N. Dhinakar who served two short tenures (first between November 21 and 27 of 2004 and again between October 11 and November 11 of 2005) and Justice M. Duraiswamy who too served two short tenures.

Justice Duraiswamy was the ACJ between November 17 and 21 of 2021 and once again between September 13 and 21 of 2022. The incumbent ACJ Mr. Raja, who hails from Thenur in Madurai district, succeeded him and continues till date.

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